Burn Bridges is an idiomatic expression that refers to intentionally severing or damaging relationships, connections, or opportunities, typically in a way that cannot be easily repaired.

Severing Relationships: As a figurative phrase, “burn bridges” conveys the deliberate act of severing ties or cutting off communication with someone, often in a manner that is final or irreversible. This could include ending friendships, professional relationships, or personal connections.

Destroying Opportunities: Burning bridges also implies damaging or destroying potential opportunities for future collaboration, networking, or advancement. By alienating others or behaving in a way that undermines trust or goodwill, individuals may close off avenues for future cooperation or support.

Bridges Beyond Repair: The expression suggests damaging relationships or connections to such an extent that they cannot be easily repaired or rebuilt. This could result from betraying trust, exhibiting unprofessional behavior, or engaging in actions that irreparably damage one’s reputation or credibility.

Consequences of Burning Bridges: Burning bridges can have significant consequences, including isolation, missed opportunities, and reputational damage. It can also create resentment or animosity among those affected, further complicating future interactions or collaborations.

Burn Bridges is an idiom that symbolizes the deliberate act of severing relationships or damaging opportunities in a way that is difficult or impossible to repair. Whether through betrayal, unprofessional behavior, or other actions, burning bridges can have lasting consequences, including isolation and reputational damage.

Examples of BURN BRIDGES in a sentence

  • She regretted her decision to burn bridges with her former colleagues when she realized the importance of networking in her industry.
  • Burning bridges with potential investors could hinder future opportunities for the startup.
  • He chose not to burn bridges with his ex-boss, as he believed in maintaining professional relationships.
  • Burning bridges with family members can lead to long-term estrangement and regret.
  • The politician’s controversial remarks threatened to burn bridges with key constituents.
  • She decided to apologize and mend the relationship rather than burn bridges with her best friend.
  • Burning bridges with suppliers could jeopardize the company’s ability to fulfill orders in the future.
  • It’s essential to handle disagreements diplomatically in business to avoid inadvertently burning bridges with partners and clients.


The idiom “burn bridges” has its origins in the literal act of burning bridges, which was a common military tactic in ancient times. By destroying a bridge after crossing it, an army would prevent its retreat and commit itself to a course of action.

In its figurative sense, “burning bridges” refers to intentionally damaging or severing relationships, connections, or opportunities in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to return to the previous state.

This idiom is often used to caution against taking actions that irreversibly harm one’s relationships or prospects for the future. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining positive connections and avoiding actions that may lead to regret or isolation. The metaphorical usage of “burning bridges” has been documented in English since at least the 19th century.


  • Sever ties
  • Ruin relationships
  • Cut off
  • Break off connections
  • Destroy bridges
  • Create irreparable rifts
  • Sour relations
  • Estrange


  • Build bridges
  • Mend fences
  • Repair relationships
  • Reconnect
  • Strengthen ties
  • Foster connections
  • Heal rifts
  • Re-establish communication


  1. Cut one’s losses
  2. Close doors
  3. Shut the door on
  4. Leave in the lurch
  5. Break off relations
  6. Estrange oneself
  7. Put up walls

🌐 🇬🇧 BURN BRIDGES in other languages

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